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We originally have planned an informal lunch to celebrate a new member joining our team. However, unexpectedly a senior co-worker of the team has also decided to leave during the same week so a farewell team lunch is expected. Now our manager decided to merge both events into the same lunch.

I have never faced this kind situation before. Is there anything that can be done to lighten the mood or i should just follow the flows?

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    Is your co-worker leaving of his own accord ? if yes, then it will be a party, and your new member will be confused. – Max Apr 19 '17 at 20:30
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    You're over thinking this, it's just lunch. You are getting a new team member and your colleague is going to a (presumably) better opportunity. These are good things all around. Just have fun. – Seth R Apr 19 '17 at 21:29
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    If there's a party, I doubt there's a situation. They usually don't invite potentially problematic people to lunch. – SliderBlackrose Apr 19 '17 at 22:51
  • While I understand that it's not your decision, personally, I would be suggesting to the manager that the celebrations be kept separate. It sounds to me like one is being subsidized by the company (as it's "expected") and the other is being paid out-of-pocket by each person (as it's "informal"). Even "lunch" being paid out-of-pocket and "dessert" (preferably from an outside place) sounds like a better idea than just merging the two together out-of-the-blue. (Cont'd.) – Teacher KSHuang Apr 20 '17 at 9:29
  • (Cont'd.) Other than that, as you have said, I would just go with the flow. And if I had been friends with the senior co-worker, I might buy him a drink and/or dessert. – Teacher KSHuang Apr 20 '17 at 9:30
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I don't see any reason, given the settings, as to why there would be a situation building up. Your manager probably thought, and rightly so, that one party would be cheaper than a new hire party and a farewell party at separate times.

Only reason i think this can potentially be tricky if the new hire is a replacement for the older employee, and the employee was made to leave on some account. In which case, you can't do much to help ease the tension except by promoting alcohol and drag them to the dance floor.

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